FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas football team will make the first Bowl Championship Series (BCS) appearance in school history as the Razorbacks will take on Ohio State in the 77th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic on Jan. 4, 2011, in New Orleans, La. The game will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. in the Louisiana Superdome and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
The meeting between the Razorbacks and Buckeyes will be the first ever between the two programs.
"The University of Arkansas is proud to accept an invitation to play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl," Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. "We are excited to be a part of the Bowl Championship Series for the first time in our history and face Ohio State in one of the most prestigious and storied bowl games in college football. We are proud of Coach Bobby Petrino, the football staff and especially our football student-athletes for their outstanding accomplishments this season. Thanks to their hard work and efforts, a large and passionate following of Razorback fans will once again be ‘Calling the Hogs’ in New Orleans."
Arkansas will be making its 38th bowl appearance and second under head coach Bobby Petrino. The bowl appearance will be the 10th in the last 13 years for the Razorbacks and will also be the 25th January bowl appearance in school history. The Razorbacks will return to the Sugar Bowl for the sixth time, making it the second-most visited bowl in school history. The last time Arkansas played in the Sugar Bowl was Jan. 1, 1980 against Alabama. The other appearances came in 1962, ’63, ’69 and ’70.
Arkansas enters the game with a 10-2 mark after having won 10 games in the regular season for the just the eighth time in school history. The Razorbacks have won six-straight games, which is the eighth-longest active streak in the country and the second-longest in the SEC. Offensively, Arkansas is the only team in the country with a quarterback (Ryan Mallett) who has passed for 3,000 yards, a running back (Knile Davis) who has rushed for 1,000 yards and five receivers (Joe Adams, Greg Childs, Cobi Hamilton, D.J. Williams and Jarius Wright) who have at least 500 receiving yards.
The BCS appearance will be the second for head coach Bobby Petrino, who becomes just the third coach to take two different schools to a BCS game after winning the 2007 Orange Bowl with Louisville. The Allstate Sugar Bowl will be the sixth bowl Coach Petrino as a head coach. He is 3-2 in previous bowl trips, with victories in the 2004 and 2010 Liberty Bowls and the 2007 Orange Bowl.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier bowl games in the country, having hosted 22 national champions, 78 Hall of Fame players, 44 Hall of Fame coaches and 15 Heisman Trophy winners in its 76-year history. In addition to football, the Allstate Sugar Bowl is involved with various community initiatives through hosting and sponsorships of sporting events, awards and clinics. The organization supports and honors over 13,000 student-athletes each year. For more information, visit www.AllstateSugarBowl.org.
Statement from University of Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino:"We’re very, very proud to be playing in the Sugar Bowl. I’m very proud of our football team. I think we’ve had a great year. It’s been a lot of fun. It’s probably been one of the most enjoyable years I’ve had in coaching, simply because our players have demonstrated a very good work ethic. They’ve always had a very positive attitude towards our preparation and our practice. And we’ve had great leadership from within the team. That is what has really allowed us to be successful. Our players and our coaching staff will have a great experience in New Orleans. We’re really looking forward to wrapping up the season by representing our fans in the first BCS game in school history. And I’m excited about our preparation for the game and the challenge that we’ll have in facing a very, very good Ohio State team. We certainly have a tremendous amount of respect for Ohio State and their program."
Quotes from selected University of Arkansas players follow:Quarterback Ryan Mallett:"As a team, we are very excited to be representing the state of Arkansas in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Our focus the next few weeks will be to prepare to go play a very good Ohio State team. As I said when I made the decision to come back, we want the Razorbacks to be among the elite teams nationally. Everyone knows ever since I was a kid I wanted to be a part of an Arkansas team in a game like this and I’m thrilled for the opportunity. I know our fans will be in New Orleans to support us."
Defensive End Jake Bequette:"This means everything. Our fans are the best in the country and have been with the program through it all. It is an honor to represent them by the first BCS appearance in school history. Playing Ohio State will be a challenge, but we look forward to a great game against a program with such a great tradition."